Blockchain Platform Cosmos Bets Its Future on a New Whitepaper

(Bloomberg) — Supporters of the Cosmos blockchain are betting a revamp of the popular crypto protocol will boost the value of its native token amid the current digital-asset bear market. 

A vote went live on Oct. 31 for a new “white paper” that will give a new look to the Cosmos Hub, a blockchain creation platform underlying a number of high-profile blockchains. While Cosmos is not as widely known as rivals such as Ethereum, Solana or Avalanche, a number of popular projects were built on Cosmos system including the infamous Terra blockchain, which collapsed in May. Decentralized derivatives exchange dYdX, which is currently based on Ethereum, announced in June that it will build its own blockchain based on the Cosmos system. 

“We are one of the most exciting ecosystems in crypto,” but one of the “least exciting tokens from crypto,” said Zaki Manian, co-author of the new white paper, or a document that explains the technology and purpose of the project. “The goal of Atom 2.0 is really to change this by making Atom exciting again.”

Atom was trading at about $13.72, according to price data from CoinMarketCap. It traded at more than $40 in January.

Similar to the newly upgraded Ethereum blockchain, Cosmos Hub uses Proof-of-Stake mechanism to verify transactions, meaning that users, or so-called validators, can put up their Atom tokens to secure the network. But chains building in Cosmos often choose to use their own tokens to pay transaction fees and secure the networks, instead of using Atom. As a result, Atom tokens have mostly failed to capture the value of Cosmos’ success. The new white paper could change that by making Atom the preferred asset used across the Cosmos system. For example, new chains in the Cosmos system could borrow Atom validators to secure their blockchains and verify transactions.

The new white paper also includes a proposal to reduce the total amount of Atom tokens and reduce the so-called inflation rate, or pace of issuance of new tokens.

Despite strong support from the community, based on the current vote, there’s been some pushback from the Cosmos community including the founder, Jae Kwon. Sunny Aggarwal, co-founder of Osmosis Labs, pointed out that Cosmos has become popular because it is “incredibly neutral.”

“There’s no token or chain at the center,” Aggarwal wrote on Twitter. “When you build in any other ecosystem, you’re just driving value to someone else token…In Cosmos, the network effects aren’t captured by any one token. The collective wins.”

But others argue that despite the risks, changes are necessarily needed, as the decentralized finance sector moves forward.

“Detractors say Atom 2.0 is risky, and they are right,” digital-asset firm Delphi Digital wrote in a research paper. “This is the riskiest thing the Hub has done in its existence. But you could argue the biggest risk to the Hub is doing nothing, for it will become irrelevant and passed by anyway.”

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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